Flag Care & Etiquette

Care and Handling of your Flag

The conditions that affect the flag on your flagpole are like fingerprints - No two are alike. Even Flags on adjacent poles do not necessarily receive the same effects of the “same” weather; a building may partially block some of the elements of the weather from the flag on one pole while the flag on the pole right next to the first pole, may get the full force of the weather. Maybe the flag is too close to a structure and when the wind is right, the flag touches or hits the structure causing damage. Just being out in the sun affects the material.

The flag is made of high quality outdoor fabric, BUT IT IS STILL FABRIC, not “Miracle” material so the elements of weather, location and usage all affect the life of your flag. So we can not answer your question of “How long will my flag last???” BUT what we can do is help you find ways to extend the life of your flag.

Here are some things that you can do to help yourself and to help extend the life of your flag...

  • 1st - Put it up in the morning and take it down at dusk. This will extend the flag’s life by reducing exposure from 24 hrs daily to 8 to 10 hours and from 7 days a week to just 5. This means that the flag will not have to withstand the 50MPG raging storm that came thru at 2:00am at night or at 2:00pm on a Saturday afternoon. And remember that if you do fly your flag 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the flag should be illuminated.
  • 2nd - When you notice that the flying edge is starting to fray, take the flag down and have it repaired If you wait too long, the damage may not be repairable.
  • 3rd - Wash your flag occasionally, to remove the dirt and grim which deteriorates the flag fabric. Wash the flag in cold or Luke warm water with a regular detergent, like the one that you would use to wash your own clothes.
  • 4th - Completely dry your flag before folding and storing it for future use to prevent mold and mildew. (It should also be dry even if you are putting it back up on the pole because, if wet, it can be stained and dirtied by dirt and contaminated on the flagpole itself.

Finally, here is a tip to always have a great appearing flag on you pole and to NEVER be put in the embarrassing position of not having a great looking flag ready to fly for that important visitor that’s arriving in 3 hour or tomorrow morning at 8:00am:

Make sure that you have 3 flags in your in possession:

  • Flag #1 - your “everyday” flag on the pole
  • Flag #2 – Your 2nd flag that is either being repaired or has already been cleaned and repaired
  • Flag #3 - A new flag ready to replace either flag 1 or 2 when the “visitor” unexpectedly shows up or when flags 1 or 2 can no longer be repaired.

When you have used Flag #3 to replace 1 or 2, then you can order a replacement flag, without panic or incurring extra rush or overnight shipping charges. This will also save on Maalox and Tums charges.

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US Flag Etiquette

The following is a brief description of the Flag Code and etiquette for the proper display of the Flag of the United States of America, or as commonly referred to as "The American Flag or US Flag". For a compete description of the United States of American's Flag code, reference: United States Code, 1958 ED., Title 36, CH 10, Sections 171-178

  1. No flag can be displayed that is bigger, higher or to the right of the US Flag. There are only 2 exceptions to this rule:
    • During religious services, while at sea, performed by a Navy Chaplain, the church pennant may be flown above the US Flag, during the service.
    • At the United Nations Headquarters, the United Nations flag can be flown above the US Flag AND the US FLAG would be displayed in its proper order along with the other national flags of the members of the United Nations.
  2. When flags of 2 or more nations are on display together, each flag should be flown on separate flagpoles of the same height with each flag being the same size and flown at the same height. The US FLAG should always be in the position of honor, which is on "its own right", followed by the other national flags arranged in alphabetical order.

    Here is a layman's explanation of "ITS OWN RIGHT":

    When you approach someone and offer to shake their hand, your right hand extends out to the other person's right hand. But to do this you are reaching over to your "left" side, as you view this person, to grasp their right hand. The same is true for the flagpole. As you view the flagpoles, with the building as the backdrop, in effect, you are approaching the pole as if it were a person, so the pole on the left, as you are seeing it, is the Right pole (right hand) and that pole is in the position of honor WHEN ALL OF THE POLES ARE OF THE SAME HEIGHT.

  3. When displaying flags of other nations, it is considered an insult to display one flag over the other on the same pole.
  4. It is considered a grave insult to fly a flag upside down except as a sign of extreme distress.
  5. If you have a group of flagpole of different heights, the US FLAG should be flown on the tallest flagpole. In this case, you should not display another nation's flag on these poles.
  6. When displaying other flags such as State, County, City, Organizational or other on flag poles of the same height, the flags should be displayed in their order of importance, with the US FLAG first, followed by the state, county, etc. If there is a group of poles taller than the other than, the US FLAG is displayed on the tallest pole, and the next most important flag is flown on the next highest pole, on its own right, followed by the other flags.
  7. When flying the flag at "half staff", raise the flag to the top of the pole, briskly, then slowly lower the flag to approximately halfway down the pole. When directed to lower the flag, the flag should be raised briskly to the top of the pole then slowly lowered for the day.

Additional Resources

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